Cogito and the Unconscious: sic 2

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Overview

The Cartesian cogito—the principle articulated by Descartes that "I think, therefore I am"—is often hailed as the precursor of modern science. At the same time, the cogito’s agent, the ego, is sometimes feared as the agency of manipulative domination responsible for all present woes, from patriarchal oppression to ecological catastrophes. Without psychoanalyzing philosophy, Cogito and the Unconscious explores the vicissitudes of the cogito and shows that psychoanalyses can render visible a constitutive madness within modern philosophy, the point at which "I think, therefore I am" becomes obsessional neurosis characterized by "If I stop thinking, I will cease to exist."
Noting that for Lacan the Cartesian construct is the same as the Freudian "subject of the unconscious," the contributors follow Lacan’s plea for a psychoanalytic return to the cogito. Along the path of this return, they examine the ethical attitude that befits modern subjectivity, the inherent sexualization of modern subjectivity, the impasse in which the Cartesian project becomes involved given the enigmatic status of the human body, and the Cartesian subject’s confrontation with its modern critics, including Althusser, Bataille, and Dennett. In a style that has become familiar to Zizek’s readers, these essays bring together a strict conceptual analysis and an approach to a wide range of cultural and ideological phenomena—from the sadist paradoxes of Kant’s moral philosophy to the universe of Ayn Rand’s novels, from the question "Which, if any, is the sex of the cogito?" to the defense of the cogito against the onslaught of cognitive sciences.
Challenging us to reconsider fundamental notions of human consciousness and modern subjectivity, this is a book whose very Lacanian orthodoxy makes it irreverently transgressive of predominant theoretical paradigms. Cogito and the Unconscious will appeal to readers interested in philosophy, psychoanalysis, cultural studies, and theories of ideology.

Contributors. Miran Bozovic, Mladen Dolar, Alain Grosrichard, Marc de Kessel, Robert Pfaller, Renata Salecl, Slavoj Zizek, Alenka Zupancic

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822320975
  • Publisher: Duke University Press
  • Publication date: 3/18/1998
  • Series: [sic] Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,278,071
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Slavoj Zizek is Senior Researcher at the Institute for Social Sciences at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He is a coeditor of Gaze and Voice as Love Objects and author of Tarrying with the Negative, both published by Duke University Press.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Cogito as a Shibboleth 1
Pt. I Cogito as a Freudian Concept
1 Cogito as the Subject of the Unconscious 11
2 The Subject of the Law 41
3 Four Discourses, Four Subjects 74
Pt. II Cogito's Body
4 The Case of Polyphemus, or, a Monster and Its Mother 117
5 Malebranche's Occasionalism, or, Philosophy in the Garden of Eden 149
6 The Silence of the Feminine Jouissance 175
Pt. III Cogito and its Critics
7 A Sovereign's Anatomy: The Antique in Bataille's Modernity and Its Impact on His Political Thought 199
8 Negation and Its Reliabilities: An Empty Subject for Ideology? 225
9 The Cartesian Subject versus the Cartesian Theater 247
Notes on Contributors
Index
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